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1991 Alfa Romeo 164 L
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Discussion Starter #1
hey there,

fairly new owner of a 164 here, and hoping y'all can help since i am completely stumped;

left the glove compartment open by accident right before going out of town for a few days, car wouldn't start, assumed i killed the battery. went to jump the car, had it hooked up to my '01 Saab 9-3 for several five-minute intervals, a few times sounded like it was close to turning over, but most of the time just clicks. left it charging for ten minutes, still nothing.

checked the alfa battery with a multimeter and reads 11.6

bought the car a few months ago, and they had just put a new battery in it, not original battery.

i'm stumped. any ideas or leads? anyone had this issue?
 

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1991 164L
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Get a fully charged battery and the report back.
 

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Alfa Romeo control unit cuts power to interior lights after a set period to prevent accidental discharge of the battery.

If a proper full recharge doesn't start the car then something may be wrong but my first guess is a current draw somewhere that shouldn't be is draining the battery. Not diagnosed before the battery was replaced by the previous owner.

The car should start from a booster battery anyway. Did you connect the booster car's battery direct to the Alfa battery. Don't try to use the contact points in the engine compartment for boosting. Always connect direct to the battery. Always connect the booster car ground cable last to reduce the risk of battery explosion. Best to connect the booster car ground to the ground on the booster car engine rather than direct to the battery for maximum safety.

Failure to turn over even when boosted probably means a bad starter.
 

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1991 164L
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Get fully charged battery and check both battery posts/cables in trunk for corrosion and 13mm hex head bolt for ground cable to chassis in trunk for corrosion, too.

Check engine ground cable to chassis bolt for corrosion near rear corner of air cleaner box. on driver's side of engine compartment. Lastly if with fully charged battery starter still clicks check other up of engine grounding strap where it attaches to transmission.
 

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1991 Alfa Romeo 164 L
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your help, y'all. Battery was fully charged, connected direct to the battery, still nothing, don't see any corrosion, I'm thinking it's a bad starter?
 

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11.6V is significantly discharged. A fully charged car battery should read 12.6V. 12.3V is 1/2 to 3/4 charged. A significantly discharged battery may never regain a full charge - especially if left in a discharged state for too long.

While waiting for a new battery, clean all the connections in the battery to starter circuit - especially the negative cable's connection to the body. The starter motor is a large electrical load. An iffy connection - or a few slightly iffy connections - will prevent the starter from getting the electrons it needs to operate.
 

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1991 Alfa Romeo 164 L
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Discussion Starter #7
11.6V is significantly discharged. A fully charged car battery should read 12.6V. 12.3V is 1/2 to 3/4 charged. A significantly discharged battery may never regain a full charge - especially if left in a discharged state for too long.

While waiting for a new battery, clean all the connections in the battery to starter circuit - especially the negative cable's connection to the body. The starter motor is a large electrical load. An iffy connection - or a few slightly iffy connections - will prevent the starter from getting the electrons it needs to operate.
Ah, thank you, Eric. I'm admittedly a novice at this stuff, that's very helpful information to have. Perhaps I'll try charging it one more time and see if I can get it any higher before ordering a new battery.
 

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1991 164L
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Well. 11.6v won't turn the starter but you should get a click maybe just enough volts to try to energize starter solenoid.

Do you have remote door lock fob if so it must to unlocked to enable power to go through antitheft unit in trunk and back to starter relay under the dash if system armed ar siren in trunk.. Also if auto transmission it must be in park or neutral to make power pass to relay, too. Try moving A/T shift lever to check safety switch in lever.
 

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1991 Alfa Romeo 164 L
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Discussion Starter #9
Well. 11.6v won't turn the starter but you should get a click maybe just enough volts to try to energize starter solenoid.

Do you have remote door lock fob if so it must to unlocked to enable power to go through antitheft unit in trunk and back to starter relay under the dash if system armed ar siren in trunk.. Also if auto transmission it must be in park or neutral to make power pass to relay, too. Try moving A/T shift lever to check safety switch in lever.
I don't have the remote door lock fob, this particular car did not come with one when I purchased it. I assume it was lost years ago.
 

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Guys, when you boost the car you aren't using the duff battery. The OP tried jumping from a known good battery presumably while the booster car (his SAAB) was also idling and therefore putting out 14 volts. Once you boost or jump start an engine from a known good battery in an different idling car then you've eliminated the battery as a possible cause for the no start.
 

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Once you boost or jump start an engine from a known good battery in an different idling car then you've eliminated the battery as a possible cause for the no start.
Not always. A severely discharged battery can draw so much power that the engine will still not start. It often takes 20 - 30 minutes of leaving the jumper cables attached & the other car running to get the dead battery boosted enough to allow the engine to start. And during this time one should be very careful that the dead battery does not suffer from a catastrophic build up of hydrogen gas & explode!
 

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Not always. A severely discharged battery can draw so much power that the engine will still not start. It often takes 20 - 30 minutes of leaving the jumper cables attached & the other car running to get the dead battery boosted enough to allow the engine to start. And during this time one should be very careful that the dead battery does not suffer from a catastrophic build up of hydrogen gas & explode!
In 45 years of boosting that has never occurred to me or anyone I know. Besides, you are mistaken. It doesn't matter how discharged a battery gets adding a booster battery will always work. You are confusing a mechanically failed battery with a good but discharged battery. In the very unlikely event the dead cars battery failed due to an internal short boosting that might be a problem. That's why you ALWAYS connect the dead car electrics last and to a ground well away from the dead cars battery, best to make your last connection to the engine ground (I use the lifting ring on the good engine for convenience). As you do so you watch for the tiny spark indicating no internal short problem in the dead battery. If you get a noticeable spark, easily visible as an arc, then DO NOT complete the circuit until you take the dead battery out of circuit. If you do that then DO NOT disconnect the good battery out of circuit to the dead car after a successful restart until you switch off the now running formerly dead engine that has no battery of its own in circuit. The alternator rectifier may be damaged if it runs with no battery in circuit.

As I say, that is exceptionally rare in my experience.

Your warning about hydrogen gas explosion is very important. Very rare but very dangerous. Never, ever make your last booster cable connection directly to the dead battery. Preferably make the last connection to a chassis or engine ground on the booster car and not to either battery directly.
 

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1991 Alfa Romeo 164 L
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Discussion Starter #13
So, on my last and final attempt to boost this battery, i checked the charge beforehand, it was 11.01. hooked up to booster battery for fifteen minutes, tried to turn it over, absolutely nothing. And then I checked the charge after (only one attempt to turn over engine), and it read at 6.00. so I assume there are multiple problems at hand here.
 

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1991 164L
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Sounds like you have a bad battery. Prolly has at least one bad cell.
 
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